Liquid TV

Credits of THE LIQUIDATOR by Richard Williams Films. I’m not sure the walking collar and tie effect is clear enough, but the piece as a whole is grand stuff. The walking in and out of doors which appear only as white rectangles wiping into and out of existence in black is very like Williams’ PINK PANTHER titles.

We were lucky enough to see Mr. Williams at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, where a huge array of his work was screened. THE LITTLE ISLAND was presented in two aspect ratios, spreading out to widescreen as the characters morph into kaiju. As the borders of the screen withdrew in awe, Williams filled the frame with vast blank slabs of intense colour, and I felt I’d never seen anything so vast in my life. It put Imax to shame by skill rather than scale.

Williams had told the projectionist earlier that if he pulled this off, it’d be the first time the movie in its 50 year history had been projected properly.

The show ended and Williams, who is in his early eighties, eagerly vaulted over the front row of seats and ran to the stage to answer our questions. For the first time I felt that his current plan, to make an animated feature film all by himself, might actually be possible. If anyone could do it…

9 Responses to “Liquid TV”

  1. I’ve never heard of the film, is it half as good as that credits sequence? Or that cast?! I was going to seek it out just from that amazing clip but the director credit gave me pause. Don’t get me wrong I love his cinematography but there’s also Mutations

    Did anyone dare ask Williams about the tragic The Thief and the Cobbler? Or better yet the “recobbled” fan restoration? That may be one of the best fan things on the net ever

  2. I’m not sure if the film has been made that’s as good as its Richard Williams title sequence… most of them are a damn sight worse. This one is just fair. It ought to have been a cross between Flashman and James Bond, John Gardner’s antiheroic Boysie Oakes should’ve been a natural for the movies.

    There wasn’t a lot of time for questions — I can well imagine what Williams thinks of the original release of TT&TC but I don’t know his opinion of the recobbled cut. Maybe too painful to contemplate that project.

  3. The 1967 Casino Royale is Totally INSANE. Very much deserving of a “Forgotten” it was supposed to star Peter Sellers as James Bond. Charles K. Feldman could never get the batshit-crazy comedy genius to stand still. Sellers would demand all sorts of additions to the script — massive sets and the like — Feldman would make then and THEN he’d change his mind. That’s why the film has FIVE (Count ’em) directors Feldman decided to plus ahead with the project as an all-star extravanganza hoping to get Sellers to join up along the way — which he did fitfully. The result must be seen t be disbelieved.

  4. chris schneider Says:

    LOVE both the title sequence and the song. Never did see the film, though I remember being in middle-school when it came out and thinking that the title made it sound like a bathroom joke. I don’t envy Schifrin and his lyricist the task of making a theme-song out of that title … perhaps the least song-worthy title since this:

  5. Williams’ animation on Casino Royale not only gets it off to a confident start, it pops in from time to time to glue together the disconnected fragments. He describe the caper with wonderment in Edinburgh.

    Orson Welles claimed Sellers disappeared from his scenes and they had to be pieced together from separately filmed closeups, and since Welles had rewritten his own lines and Sellers improvised his, the segments never connected. Two geniuses delivering punchlines with nobody around to do the feedlines. The finished scene isn’t quite as demented as that makes it sound, and the two men do share one set-up. But only one, as I recall.

    Lester blames “the yogurt diet” for Sellers’ late-career flakiness.

    The Liquidator is indeed a ludicrous song title, but Thunderball is MUCH worse, and they pulled that one off. Goldfinger is pretty bad too, but they modeled their approach on Mack the Knife and it turned out crazy but good.

  6. Here’s a link to get ahold of A truly definitive piece about the making of Casino Royale in a publication I’m associated with

  7. Casino Royale is the ultimate auteur less film. Originally it was going to be a much simpler James Bond spoof but after Sellers left Feldman seems to have just thrown writers and directors and scenes at the wall to see what hit. I’d love to know if any Terry Southern scenes survive. And I would’ve loved to have seen some of the many scenes that didn’t make it-like David Prowse as Winnie the Pooh

    One of my favourite stories from the film is about how well Woody Allen and Val Guest got on. Guest helped Allen keep it together as his scenes got rewritten or ruined. If memory serves, Allen asked Guest to direct ‘Take the Money’ for him (after Jerry Lewis turned it down). It would’ve taken Guest’s career in a whole different (better) direction.

  8. Guest certainly had a long and strange career with many collaborations with comedians, from the 30s to, ultimately, the 80s (Cannon & Ball!).

    Come payday I must check out that article. Wasn’t Huston the first director on board? His section doesn’t even feature Sellers. Then Sellers had Robert Parrish replace his old friend Joe McGrath, if memory serves. So the madness was established before Sellers departed.

    Wonder if those deleted scenes survive anywhere. Still, it”d be monstrous if those existed and Ambersons were lost.

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